Dominica Facts

Dominica Facts and History

North America

Dominica is often confused with the Dominican Republic, but the two islands could not be more different and are also politically and geographically completely separate island states in the Caribbean.

Dominica is certainly the greenest island in the Lesser Antilles to which it belongs; around 60% of the island is covered with tropical rainforest or other vegetation. You won’t find the typical white Caribbean beaches here.

In return, nature lovers get their money’s worth here, the island has several volcanoes, rainforests and beautiful diving areas.

Whales can also be seen on the south coast; in total there are up to 15 different species that cavort in front of the waters of Dominica all year round.

The last 3,500 descendants of the indigenous people live on Dominica – the Caribs.

Name of the country The Commonwealth of Dominica
In German Commonwealth of Dominica
Form of government Parliamentary democracy, republic
Geographical names around 61 ° west longitudearound 16 ° north latitude
National anthem Isle of beauty
National holiday November 3rd (1978 Independence Day)
Population 73,000 (Credit: Countryaah: Dominica Population)
Ethnicities rounded up or down:Black 88%,

Mixed race 9%,

Caribbean Indians 3%,

Whiteness 1%,

other 0.7%

Religions rounded up or down:Catholics 80%, besides mostly Anglicans and Methodists
Languages English as the official language and French patoi
Capital Roseau
Surface 750 km²
Highest mountain Morne Diablatins with a height of 1,447 m
Longest river Layou River with a length of 18 km
International license plate WD
National currency East Caribbean Dollar (EC $)
Time difference to CET -5 h
International phone code 001767
Mains voltage, mains frequency 230 volts, 50 hertz; British adapter
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .dm

Dominica: history

Until around the year 1000

4,000-6,000 years ago Indians who were settled in South America, especially in today’s Venezuela, succeeded in colonizing some Caribbean islands.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, bone finds and grave goods from the Ciboney, which began around 2000 BC. BC populated almost all the islands of the Antilles, show a close relationship with the finds made in Venezuela. The Ciboney were followed between the first and eleventh centuries by the Arawaks, who also visited the entire Antilles area; Among other things, they brought agriculture (especially cassava) with them. The Arawken were peace-loving and consisted of several tribes, such as the Taino or the Igneri.

From the year 1000 to the 17th century

The Arawaks followed the Caribs, they came from the north coast of South America (Suriname, Guayana) and landed in the Lesser Antilles around the 14th century, where they attacked the Arawaks, enslaved their husbands and married their wives. The Arawaks had nothing to oppose the Caribs with their weapons, which were highly developed for the time. At the time of Columbus, only Trinidad and the Virgin Islands were inhabited by the Arawaks. Columbus himself discovered the Antilles in 1492 and since he suspected to have landed in India, he called the islands the West Indies.

Dominica was only discovered on Columbus’ second voyage on November 3, 1493, a Sunday after the discoverer named the island (Domingo in Spanish). Dominica was the last Caribbean island to be colonized by the Europeans, as this was where the resistance of the indigenous population was strongest.

The exploitation of the islands by the Europeans began shortly after their discovery. As on the other islands, the indigenous indigenous population on Dominica has been decimated by slave labor or murder. Since the islands could not boast rich mineral resources, the Caribs were enslaved and shipped to Spain, most of them died within 5 years due to the climate change and the strenuous work, then the slave shipping was stopped, but slavery was maintained on the islands.

After most of the natives were massacred on the islands, the first black slaves were transported to the Antilles in 1524 to work on the plantations of the immigrant Europeans. After the tobacco market collapsed, the colonists switched to sugar cane and later rum as an export item.

In the 18th and 19th centuries

In the 18th century, an average of 2,750 black slaves were “imported” to Dominica every year. In comparison, only around 1,200 whites but a total of around 15,000 colored people lived on the island. The survival rate of the slaves during the hard work on the plantations was around five years, after which cheap supplies from Africa had to fill the gaps again.

The first slave revolts took place in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and the slave trade was finally banned in the first quarter of the 19th century.

Dominica had different masters in its past, the English occupied the island in 1627 in order to lose it again to the French, in 1763 they returned the island to Great Britain, which declared it a colony in 1805.

in the 20th and 21st centuries

When the Panama Canal was opened in 1914, the Lesser Antilles rekindled the interest of international shipping companies. In addition, the islands became interesting as a tropical paradise for Europeans and Americans in need of relaxation.

The Second World War brought a time of endangerment in the Caribbean as well and the prevailing precarious economic situation would last long after the war. Many residents of the islands were drawn into the war by their colonial masters, so Caribbean blood flowed on the European battlefields.

From 1945 onwards, the number of voices calling for the colonies to be separated from the mother countries increased. New administrative structures were soon sought, especially in London. Especially the takeover of Cuba by Fidel Castros in 1959 required a new strategy in order not to make the idea of socialism too attractive.

So it came about that Dominica became a province of the West Indian Federation from 1958 to 1962 and from 1967 Great Britain granted Dominica internal self-government. Finally, on December 3, 1978, Dominica became an independent country and five days later a member of the United Nations.

Within a few years there were many small, dwarf states in the region that ran into major economic problems. That is why there was an effort to bring the Caribbean region together economically. As a result, the CARIFTA (Caribbean Free Trade Area) was founded in 1968, which Dominica also joined.

The CARIFTA was converted into the Caribbean Common Market in 1973 and a further step was the establishment of the Caribbean Development Bank CDB (Caribbean Development Bank) and above all the establishment of the Organization of East Caribbean States. The OECS brings the English-speaking islands together, they all share the same currency, the East Caribbean dollar (EC $).

After Dominica gained independence, Patrick John of the Social Democratic Party became the country’s first Prime Minister. However, his reign was marked by corruption and personal gain, so that there were bloody demonstrations. As a result, on June 25, 1979, the office was handed over to the morally honest Minister of Economics, Oliver J. Seraphin. Its prudent government activities were brought to an abrupt end by a smear campaign, after which Mary Eugenia Charles (1919-2005) came to power in 1980; she was the first female head of state in the Caribbean region to stay in office for 15 years, i.e. until 1995.

Dominica is a member of the British Commonwealth.

Dominica Facts